Who is Todd Gitlin?

Who is Todd Gitlin?

            Any Google search or Wikipedia link will lead you to a short bio of Todd Gitlin. Any reader can look at the back flap of Gitlin’s books to get his quick summary: “a professor of journalism and sociology, and chair of the Ph. D. program in communications at Columbia University…” (Gitlin, 2008). He is labeled as a “New Leftist” and has shown himself a supporter of the Democratic movement. Beside the titles and accomplishments, Gitlin is just a man that is sick of having a shallow view of the media. He wanted to know more, and that was his adventure.

In the introduction to his book, Gitlin (2001) describes how he has been involved in the media for over a quarter century; but despite his experience he still feels that there is a disconnect between what he sees and what is reality. In the first few pages of Media Unlimited, Gitlin (2001) explores what media is and the impact of media.

Giltin compares the vast imagery of media to Vermeer’s paintings. Vermeer’s paintings captured the lifestyle of his era, and today’s media captures our era’s lifestyle. Someone of Vermeer’s era would be amazed at the multimedia outlets and the ever-changing images that define our era. He states that the average American household has 2.9 televisions, providing exposure to media outlets. In my mind, how much of what we see on our televisions is actually real? Is the news anchor telling us the whole story?

Gitlin explores other ideas that invade our media. Gitlin (2010) explores the divine election of Israel and how America is this era’s “new Israel”.  Both underwent huge adversaries and obstacles to become superpowers, or as Gitlin phrases it “chosen peoples”.

An overwhelming theme in Gitlin’s writings are his leftist tendencies. He exhibits a love for patriotism in his book The Intellectuals and the Flag , but emphasizes the work the left wing has to accomplish in order to not just oppose the right, but make moves (Gitlin, 2005).

Even though all his novels carry a left wing theme, I personally cannot discount all his ideas and writings as wrong. I would consider myself more on the right side of the political world, but try to distinguish truth from ignorance.

In the first few pages of Media Unlimited, I would agree with Gitlin’s claims of “supersaturation” of the media (Gitlin, 2001). Media has saturated every area of our current lives. I tried to think of a situation where advertising wouldn’t permeate my mind; but even after placing myself in the middle of the forest with no television, no radio, and no paper, I still find myself craving a Chic Fil A spicy chicken sandwich. Eat more chicken, right?

Gitlin (2001) elaborates on the millions of places the media can take us: from the Chinese New Year in actual China to the political campaigns surrounding Washington D.C. We can be a million places at once, but just in the comfort of our own homes. I agree with Gitlin with the idea that there really are no words to describe the vast imagery and the worlds that the media opens our lives to. “Through all the confusion we sense something like a unity at work. The torrent is seamless…whatever the diversity of texts, the media largely share a texture, even if it is maddeningly difficult to describe” (Gitlin, 2001).

Although I agree with much of Gitlin’s media saturation ideas, his general political views do differ significantly from mine. I attempted to search for outright critics of Gitlin’s ideas and writings, but came to the conclusion that I think almost every right wing thinker would disagree with his views: whether it be on his recent article on the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations or the state of our economy. But even amongst all the disagreement that permeates our political world, we can still find common ground.

 

 

References

Gitlin, T. (2001). Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds

    Overwhelms Our Lives. New York: Metropolitan.

 

Gitlin, T. (2008). Online autobiography retrieved from: http://toddgitlin.net/?page_id=5

 

Genesis Vs The Iliad

Genesis Vs. The Iliad

            For centuries, the Bible and Homer’s Iliad have been heralded as perfections in the literary world.  The authors word choice, phrasing, rhythm and poetic stance are still copied today by great writers and poets.

But this summary will look only at the first few lines of these two books and how they compare and contrast. The voices of both are unique to one another, and yet they both share similarities in flow. Also, Walter Ong (1982) breaks down briefly both books.

Homer introduces his famed story with a triumphant and confident voice. To me, I picture an animated story-teller that is giving a large group of important people the story of the great Achilles. Homer’s words want to be put into an action play or read aloud to a group with props and lots of big gestures.

Homer starts the story with a command—“Sing, O goddess…”. This entrance into the story calls for immediate attention. A modern day example would be like the musical opening to a Star Wars movie—sudden and attention-grabbing.

The opening to Genesis seems a bit more quieted and regal. The words God uses are simple, understandable, and straightforward. There are no adjectives like “brave”, “countless”, “great”, which Homer used in his opening lines. Genesis chapter one tells of a great story , told by the Creator, but in a reverential tone.

Although both books are introduced in different tones or voices, they share a similarity in their general flow. Both the Bible and the Iliad open with a long, drawn-out thought. The thought is continued with “ands” and commas, which create long sentences.

Also, the opening of both introduces the main character of the book immediately—Achilles and God. “Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus” and “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”

To Walter Ong (1982), the orality of the openings to Genesis and Iliad differ in expression and thought. The first few verses of Genesis are considered by Ong to be “additive” in their type of orality. When read aloud, one will pick-up on the numerous usages of “and”. These “ands” continue the thought introduced in verse one—the “ands” are adding to the thought.

Ong (1982) describes the orality of the Iliad as “aggregative”. As I mentioned before, the language in Genesis is straightforward, while the Iliad is descriptive. In aggregative orality, adjectives are frequently used to dress-up nouns. Homer uses “brave soul”, “countless ills”, and “great Achilles”.

Adjectives—or the aggregative style—can be used to help paint a picture, but sometimes can be held in a negative light to literary societies. Ong (1982) states that “oral expression thus carries a load of epithets and other formulary baggage which high literacy rejects as cumbersome and tiresomely redundant because of its aggregative weight.“ Oral societies prefer all the adjectives and descriptive words, whereas literary societies prefer less dressed-up language. Homer’s Iliad is better suited to be told orally rather than read.

These two great books have set the stage for many great works produced in recent centuries. We could almost say the Bible has helped most writers and poets produce their influential works since it is the oldest lasting book in human history. But there are still many other unique ways to produce literature.  It would be interesting to break down the types of writing, their origins, and how they have influenced others. This is a good subject for another time and another day.

 

References

God. The Bible.

Homer. The Iliad.

Ong, W.(1982). Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. New York: New York, Methuen

Can someone find love online? ComL 509

“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain. “- Mark Twain (or Samuel Clemens)

There are so many different dating sites on the internet these days: Match.com, Chemistry.com, eHarmony.com, doubleyourdating.com. But are they for real? Or are these sites a scam to lure in people and their money in hopes that some computer system will set them up with a possible partner (or possible stalker)? In my personal opinion, experience, and through some of the research I’ve done, I find that it certainly is possible for someone to find love. Yet before I continue, please believe that I also think there is a correct, safe route to find love and there is also a reckless route to find love also.

First, CMC provides people with an easier way to meet a wider range of people than they would in a real-life situation. Many people live hectic lives, trying to balance work with hobbies, friends, and other responsibilities. People tend to encounter the same people every day (in the office, at the grocery store, at the gym, etc.) CMC and online dating gives people a spectrum of other people that they wouldn’t be able to meet regularly AND it gives people the opportunity to “weed-out” potentials that don’t share similar interests.

Instead of having to go on failed date after failed date, online dating sites like eHarmony.com give internet users the opportunity to sit in the comfort of their own home and look through thousands of profiles. These profiles provide people with pictures and information on hobbies, dislikes and likes, personalities. According to Steven Barboza from the Atlanta Post (2011), three out of four internet users or close to 113 million people have used dating sites. These people can flip through profile by profile giving them more control of who they date.

From my own experience, I had a friend from my church who did the dreaded blind dates and even dated guys she met at the grocery store. Some guys lasted a few weeks and some barely made it past the first date. She felt like she exasperated all routes and decided to try out online dating. After a few so-so dates, she finally went on a date with a guy that lived a state over. She was hesitant about the distance, but they hit it off so well that she overlooked the distance. A bunch of dates and eight months later they were engaged. Today, she is married to her husband of three years and just had their first baby.

Harris Interactive conducted a poll in 2008 that found the 236 marriages happen daily as result of couples meeting on eHarmony.com. If that is just one online dating site, imagine the numbers if we combine the success stories from all the sites!

Now although these statistics show the mass success stories, I think that real success comes through the individual. One must approach online dating with not only positive motives, but with patience and honesty. Thurlow, Lengel, and Tomic (2004) stated that it takes can longer for those using CMC to build a relationship versus using FtF. People need to realize that online dating can take more time, and they must have patience. Along with patience, people should be honest and upfront with their profiles. You can’t tell the cute guy you find online that you’re into hiking and camping; then when he takes you hiking, you complain the whole way up the mountain. People will only experience disappointment and another failed attempt at meeting someone if honesty isn’t used.

Just like Twain says, when looking for love you have to use your heart. Fish with the right bait, and you can grab the perfect catch!

NS

References

Barboza, Steven. (2011, May 3). Digital Romance: The Business of Online Dating. The Atlanta Post. 

              Retrieved from http://atlantapost.com/2011/05/03/digital-romance-the-business-of-online-dating/

Press Release from eHarmony.com. Harris Interactive/eHarmony study finds an average of 236 eHarmony members

               marry every day. eHarmony.com. Retrieved from http://www.eharmony.com/press/release/8

Thurlow, C., Lengel, L., & Tomic, A. (2004). Computer mediated communication: Social interaction and the Internet.

               London, England: Sage.

Back in Action…

So, it’s been over two years since my last post. That’s pretty bad. I wanted to invest time into making daily or at least weekly posts, but obviously failed.

Now that I’m taking Com 509, the blog has been revived! I hope you enjoy the posts I write for class; and the few others I will throw in for the fun of it!

The End at a Beginning: CONTINUED

The proverbial anvil is coming down on Pontiac’s head, and with it the ushering in of a–cross your fingers–new General Motors.  But despite the infamous ’70s goats, the best-selling Firebirds, and the new BMW-buster G8, Pontiac is being cut late 2010. To us unfortunate loyal Pontiac drivers who have seen the company takes its hits and grasp its rises, we are left with just the memories and the keys to our young classics.

We Pontiac drivers all have our stories, stories like beating that arrogant mustang driver from off the line or busting our bumper when trying to ease a stunt straight out of Fast and Furious. So, as a Pontiac follower, here is my story. It’s a little different, but it’s a true life saver. Makes you really appreciate those gas-guzzling, tank-like American vehicles people love to hate, hate to love, and just LOVE(even though my 3.5L V6 gets about the same MPG as that ugly Honda Fit that makes a hyena look like a runway model. Psh.) So ex out of your facebook page and quit IMing your buddy….take a little ride with me. 

December 4, 2006: It truly was unusual weather for a December. It fit our ridiculously giddy moods as there was only two weeks of the semester left before Christmas break. Instead of beating our heads against the concrete walls in our all-girl dorms or even practicing our religion of a nightly Starbucks drink, we decided to drive out to The Cliffs where my friend, Courtney, and her family had a house. (RIP Courtney’s house in The Cliffs; it was struck by lightening a few months ago and burned to the ground.) 

I was unaware of this plan until Sylvia (another bestie) and Courtney enter my room, fully-packed for a weekend (even though we were only going for the day), and screaming (almost as loud and clear as Adam Lambert, whom I hope wins American Idol) random things about packing, The Cliffs, and I’m driving. 

We pile into my bright blue 2006 Pontiac G6 GT coupe, pop the sun-roof, starting jamming to the Ipod (note that), fill-up with gas (note that too), and get out on the scenic roads of Travelers Rest, SC. We are traveling on an almost ghost two lane highway. It had rained the night before, leaving the median soft, but the roads dry. 

Now back to that Ipod… we were craving some Akon. I know what you’re thinking, he’s arrogant and crime-prone, but simply his tunes are catchy and his words stick in your head for days. Courtney pokes her head up front from the back seat and checks the Ipod for a good Akon song, but has no luck navigating through the player. I grab the Ipod and look down for what seemed like two seconds before I hear a “WATCH IT!!” 

Don’t want to make this post too long…Return for Part III to come soon…it’s juicy!

My Summed-up Passion Quote

“I am a car enthusiast. I love automobiles, especially the great ones. I am not an automotive expert, nor a pundit, nor an analyst. I am a car nut, better informed than some, perhaps, because I’ve been able to eat, sleep, and drink cars for the past 35 years, but a car nut nonetheless.”
-David E. Davis, former editor-in-chief of Automobile magazine

The End at a Beginning: Why Pontiac will leave some of its sentiments with me

In the wake of General Motor’s attempt to rise from it’s financial ashes and begin again, the former mega-auto giant decides to begin it’s new endeavor with a close. GM announced its plan to “resolve” the Pontiac brand by the end of 2010. Sort of a paradox, I know, but the decision to dissolve the muscle brand of Pontiac may resurrect the phoenix of GM that once graced the hoods of many muscle car maniacs (Firebird ring a bell?)  (read more about GM’s decision by clicking below)

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/apr2009/db20090427_787924.htm?campaign_id=rss_daily 

Well, despite my valiant efforts to prevent the dissolution of a well-loved car company (I wrote a letter–once) I want to resurrect a few reasons as to why Pontiac will not dissolve to me. 

1.  Who can forget the purple GTO Vin Diesel drove in XXX? or Knight Rider? 

2.  American muscle, I think… Corvette, Camaro, Challenger, Charger, Mustang, GTO, Firebird-Trans Am… catch my drift?

3. Besides the flop Pontiac made with the Aztek (ugly, I know),  how about the beloved Trans-Am? The BMW-threatening G8? The ever-popular Grand Am? (all you that went to Bob Jones, this was the car of choice among students.) The fun, thrifty, and one of Car and Driver’s Ten Most Beautiful Cars for 2009 Pontiac Solstice (this was in comparison with Porsches, Aston Martins, Mercedes, Alfa Romeos, and Audi’s). 

4. Now this is one is a little bit more personal, and okay, a little bit more bias. Stay with me though. I own a Pontiac. 2007 Pontiac G6 GT coupe in glorious pollen-attracting black. This isn’t my first Pontiac either,actually its my second G6 to be exact. In latter days (only about three years ago), I owned a bright blue 06 G6 coupe. Today, it lies in a scrap yard or as my dad told me, it’s probably sitting in WalMart in the form of forks and spoons.

Few of you have heard this story, some have seen the pictures, but next is the full(and real!) story to why Pontiac and the G6 will always strike a sentimental ping in my heart. It’ll be in the next issue (post), my friends.

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